NOTE: This information is provided as general advice only. It isn’t meant to be exhaustive and you should seek formal training in self defense.
There are many things you can do to keep yourself safe and protected. The below women’s self defense tips are general and may or may not work in every situation. The proper use of women’s self defense products, woman’s self defense techniques and general awareness is your best form of self defense.
Avoiding Violent Crimes
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Sexual Assault
- Use initials instead of first names on mail boxes and phone listings.
- Avoid remaining alone in an apartment laundry room or parking garage.
- Never admit on the telephone or at the door that you are alone.
- It is risky to accept a ride home from someone you have just met.
- If you decide to physically resist assault, remember that your goal is to incapacitate the attacker long enough to run to safety and get help.
- If you have been a victim of sexual assault, call police immediately. Do not bathe or change clothes or you may destroy evidence.
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Robbery
- Avoid carrying valuable items or large amounts of money.
- Always think ahead. For example, when traveling at night, have your keys ready to enter the house or to start the car.
- If you are confronted by a robber, the best advice is to cooperate.
- If you resist, there is a greater chance that you may be hurt.
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Bank Machines
- When using an automatic bank teller, always be watchful of any suspicious people around you.
- The chances of being robbed at night are much greater, especially if you are alone.
- If you find someone waiting and watching outside in the area of an ATM machine, do not use it. Leave the area and report the incident to the police immediately. You could save someone else from being a victim of crime.
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Street Safety
- Use common sense.
- Stay in well lighted, busy areas. Avoid walking alone and avoid known trouble spots.
- When you carry a purse, hold it close to your body rather than by the handles. Do not wrap purse straps around your wrist, because you can get hurt in a struggle.
- Carry only what you need in a purse or wallet, not everything you have.
- Avoid using shortcuts through dark alleys, fields, or vacant lots.
- If you think you’re being followed, cross the street and change directions a few times. Go quickly to a well-lighted place with lots of people. Do not go home. You don’t want an attacker to know where you live.
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Party Safety
One thing to always remember is that drugs and alcohol can affect your ability to make good decisions (such as identifying danger signs and plotting escape routes). Manage how much you consume and party safely.
- Always get your own drink. Watch it while it is being poured.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended.
- Don’t drink or taste anybody elses drink.
- Don’t accept drinks from anyone else.
- Dispose of your drink if you think it tastes odd and get a new one.
- It is possible for the drugs used to spike drinks to be colorless and tasteless. You may not realize that anything has been added.
- Be aware of the behavior of your friends or family while partying. Is their behavior out of normal character? Do they seem too “out of it” for what they’ve had?
- If your friend needs to sober up it is always good to see that they are OK. Are they alone and if not, who is with them? Are they safe?
- Encourage friends and family who are drunk to drink water or eat something. Keep an eye on them, if you can.
- If you decide to leave and go home with someone, ask yourself if you really trust whom you are going home with? Are you sure they won’t make you do anything you don’t want to do? Will they take “NO” for an answer?
- If you are going home with someone, be sure to let someone know. Introduce them to your friends or family.
Women’s Self Defense Tips – Rape & Sexual Assault
- Create a loud noise – Carry a whistle, personal alarm or scream “police” to attract attention.
- Run & Get Away – Only run if there is somewhere safe to run to. If there is no safe place to run you may just aggravate an assailant.
- Stall – Speak calmly and rationally. Do your best not to cry, plead or show you’re scared, this may be exactly the reaction a rapist is going for.
- Vomit or Urinate – anything you can do to repulse an assailant may help. Telling him you have AIDS or another STD may also be effective.
- Fight Back – Women who fight back quickly and resist attacks are less likely to be raped, than a passive woman who does nothing. The most effective time to fight back and react is in the first 20 seconds of an attack. During times such as these the body will release adrenalin and other chemicals into the blood that will help you put up a good fight. If the assailant has a weapon, be extra cautious.
- Stay alert – Do your best to pay attention to every detail possible although it will be difficult. This may help you identify an assailant.
- Get help ASAP – Call 9-1-1. Police are much more willing to help then they were years ago. You will not be obligated to press charges or go to court.
- Save the evidence – Don’t shower, bath or douche. If you change your clothes, be sure to put the clothes you were raped in into a bag and seal it.
- Tell somebody – Call rape crisis counselor, the police a telephone operator or a friend. It is very important that you don’t keep this a secret and let someone know what happened.
Additional Women’s Self Defense Tips
It is always best to do as much as you can to avoid a confrontation – “anticipation and avoidance” are the best answer to staying safe. If you do end up in bad situation, try talking to an attacker in a non provocative manner. Remaining relaxed, because appearing fearful or stressed out can possibly provoke a attack. Body language is also very important, be sure to keep a good amount of distance between you and a possible aggressor. Review the above women’s self defense tips on a regular basis and become familiar with them.
The use of a self defense whistle or a personal alarm will also help. The loud loud sound may cause temporary disorientation and it can also signal for help, giving you the necessary time to get away. If you choose to carry a personal alarm device, be sure to carry it somewhere on you body that will allow for quick and easy access. Leaving your alarm buried in your purse or at the bottom of a large pocket will render it useless in an emergency situation. If you don’t have a whistle or personal alarm, do the best you can to make a loud noise by yelling as loud as you can. It is also effective in most cases to shout “call the police” – if you’re loud enough this can be just as effective as a personal alarm. If you do have a personal alarm, use it while shouting for the maximum effectiveness.
Remain calm and steady yourself if threatened by danger. Using proper self defense includes a steady and calm state of mind. If you were to panic, it may make all preparation useless and you will be totally helpless when it matters most. If you manage to keep control, you will be one step ahead of your attacker.
If you find that you need to fight, use the “bash and dash” approach. When using “bash and dash”, your primary target are an attackers eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, groin, knees and shins. Do your best to attack any of these locations or all of them and you will stand a much better chance of escaping.
If an attacker manages to grab you from behind, don’t struggle forward, you’ll only end up exhaust yourself quickly. Instead throwing yourself backwards toward an attacker will likely surprise them and give you a chance to get away. If this does not work, stomp on their foot or lower leg and escape as quickly as possible.
Everyone has the right to defend themselves with reasonable force. Defending yourself includes using any item you may have available such as a bag, umbrella, can, briefcase or even your keys. When using these types of items be sure to get away the first chance you get, don’t continue your attack after you have overcome them, you may put yourself in even more danger or you may get charged by the police for assault.
The above women’s self defense tips are only tips and are not guaranteed to work in all situations. You should use discretion and judge every situation. Women’s self defense tips are to provide options and recommendations when in potentially bad situations.